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History of the Name

Have you ever wondered how the Philadelphia 76ers got their name?

The NBA franchise actually began in 1949, when six teams from the midwest-based National Basketball League joined the Basketball Association of America to form the 17 team National Basketball Association. One of those teams was the Syracuse Nationals, which eventually became the Philadelphia 76ers.

In the spring of 1963, the Syracuse Nationals were purchased by two Philadelpians, Irv Kosloff and Ike Richman, and the NBA approved the franchise shift formally on May 22.

The franchise then held a contest to name the club and on August 6, 1963, the Nationals changed their name. The late Walt Stahlberg, of West Collingswood, New Jersey, won the contest, of which 500 different suggestions were entered.

Stahlberg was one of several who picked the 76ers. However, his accompanying 25-word explanation was deemed the best by the judges, and he and his wife received an all-expense trip to the West Coast to see the newly-named 76ers play San Francisco.